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Do you like getting freebies? Gratuitous stuff? Free lunch, maybe? Well, I don’t.
I’ve always been like this, I have quite a repulsion towards free stuff. I become reluctant, I start to question myself, I back up. Although one may think that avoiding free stuff made for quite a difficult path for me so far (with the overwhelming stream of opportunities around), I will have to tell you the exact opposite. Avoiding free stuff made me far more wealthy and self confident than the average.
You know that old saying “there is no such thing as a free lunch”? Well, it’s still quite accurate.
Everything you do requires energy. Everything you receive was made with energy. Everything around you, including yourself, is a form of energy. And every time you start an interaction, you are initiating in fact an energetic exchange. Every form of communication is an energetic exchange.
Have you ever had a relaxing conversations with somebody else? Have you ever had a deep bonding with close, dear friends? Ever had a sense of exhilaration after closing a big business deal, a sale or just getting a promotion? All of these are successful energetic exchanges.
In each successful interaction our energy exchange is balanced, instant and beneficial. Balanced, instant and beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at this.
If we give more or less energy than it’s required, our energetic exchange is imbalanced. If we’re talking, for instance, and we give more energy than required, the other part may step back, ending the process. Or we find ourselves fighting instead of talking, opening our energy valves beyond control. Or we can find ourselves not responding in kind to other’s verbal flow, putting a lot less energy than required in the process. Whatever the cause, putting more or less energy than necessary, will make the interaction fail. This is an unbalanced energetic exchange.
If the response of our energetic exchange is delayed, we feel insecure. If we’re having an intimate relationship and the response to our interaction – making a gift to someone, for instance – is coming several hours later, we start asking why this is happening. Even if the response is positive, we start asking why we’re getting our response so late? Is something wrong with us? With the other one? With both? We feel insecure, and that’s because the energetic exchange was not instant, it was delayed. Most successful energetic exchanges are in the moment.
And if the energetic exchange was not mutually beneficial, we feel frustrated. If you close a deal under pressure, giving away some of your benefits, you feel frustrated. If you laugh and the other one cries, you feel frustrated. If you didn’t receive as much as you want from a conversation, you feel frustrated. That’s because the exchange wasn’t mutually beneficial, only one part of the exchange was favored. Most of our energy exchanges are not mutually beneficial, it’s always some part that will take a little more than we expect.
But despite these conditions, balanced, instant and beneficial energy exchanges are always possible.
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Our modern society has only two major mindsets, and those are: “to have” and “to be”. “To have” is the mindset which favors acquisitions, possessions, control, disruption. “To be” is the mindset which favors enjoyment, detachment, freedom and continuity. Throughout our lives we bounce back and forth from one mindset to another. At some point, “to have” seems more important and it’s preferred. Sometimes we chose more “to be” rather than “to have”.
The world we live in has a huge shift towards the “to have” mindset. Every social structure is designed in such a way that it will support acquisition or a form of control. Every definition of success is based on a number of possessions. Almost every form of value creation is based on a form of control and disruption. The “to have” mindset is ubiquitous. It’s so present that we forgot how “to be”.
Limited Versus Continuous
When you have something, you have it only for a limited period of time. The moment you started to have that thing, time will start its destructive action and the thing will start to decay. Every economic theory will state the fact that there is a devalorisation of things based on the time we’ve had possession over them. You can have a thing only for a limited period of time.
On the other hand, being is continuous. By choosing “to be” and not to have, you detach from the time bounding and enjoy your present second. If you obey to the “to have” mindset, you can have a beautiful thing for some time and then try to recreate the feeling by buying another similar one. But if you’re in the “to be” mindset you can be in joy regardless of any other external hook. You don’t need “to have” material incentives if you are just being. Happiness is not bounded.
Past Or Future Versus Present
When you have something you have it only in the past. You may have the illusion that you have it in the present moment but each second that thing will change. Mostly to decay. You cannot really have something in the present moment, it’s impossible. All of your possessions are in the past. All you have is in the past and all you will have is in the future. In the present moment there is only a presence, you.
When you chose “to be” you chose to live in the present. You can’t live in he past or in the future, you can only be in this present second. This second is all you have. You can’t be in the past, because the past doesn’t exist anymore and you can’t be in the future because the future doesn’t yet exist. Having something is always in the past, being is always in the present.
During my first 6 months of blogging I made 847 USD. I still wait for some results from one of my affiliate deals but based on the previous activity I can more or less predict how much is going to be. As you may already guessed, this is the third post from the series: The First Six Months Of Blogging, and it is about money and blogging. If you missed the first two posts, you can find them here:
Why Do I Want To Make Money With My Blog?
Before dwelling on the blogging money too much I think I should clarify a bit on the “Why?”. I guess the “Why?” is fundamental and it has a tremendous impact on your overall income. If you don’t have a clear reason on why you should make money with your blog, I guess it will be pretty difficult to attract money making opportunities.
During the first 6 months I haven’t had a clear focus on making money. My main focus was at creating a self-discipline about writing, creating a comfortable blog setup and putting together a promoting strategy. I am pretty sure I could made much more than 847 USD, if I would intended that.
My revenue sources in the first 6 months are based on more or less incidental affiliate deals. I wasn’t proactive on those deals, it just happened. I found some opportunity, I evaluated the impact on my writing and promotion routine and if everything seemed ok, I jumped on it. The main reason behind those deals was to find some metrics and learn how much money I can really make. It was like a sandbox, more like an experiment than a real monetization strategy.
The reason why I want to make money with my blog is to support my lifestyle of choice. I don’t want to accumulate, but I want to be able to generate enough income to support my family and myself. At this point, all my expenses are covered from other sources. I do not depend on blog money. But I made a choice to create a different lifestyle and I want this lifestyle to be fulfilling on all levels, including financial levels.
For some of my readers it should be no secret by now that I consider money as a form of energy. Playing directly with the energy (for instance, with electricity, which is a form of energy) is not always the healthiest choice we can make. In fact, if you expose yourself too much to a powerful source of energy, you can end up pretty shocked. You need some protection when playing with this energy. You need a goal. Whenever you have a clear goal, money seems to flow much more easier. Making money with a blog just in order to make money with a blog is like putting your fingers into a power outlet. It can give you the thrills for a while, but after that you’ll end up completely wasted.
So, my goal is that my blog will support my new lifestyle. For those of you interested in more details, you can have a glimpse at what I want to do in 2009, for instance.
Broadcasting And Receiving
After I sold my online business, I choose blogging as my main communication vehicle. My message is simple: you can be a better version of yourself. I use this blog to broadcast my message. That’s all I do. I create value and broadcast it.
But I’m also ready to receive the positive (or negative, if case will be) impact of my work. I’m not only in broadcast mode, I also do receiving. I already started to receive appreciation notes from my readers (and that’s besides the comments). Some of them are saying that my writing really made a positive impact on their lives. They’re manifesting more courage, they start to change their dreams, they start to attract more happiness into their lives. That’s good. I am genuinely happy when this is happening.
I already told you about a long term partnership with Mariner Software, which produces, among other software gems, my journaling and blogging application of choice, MacJournal. We've been talking about this since February. Well, I'm writing this only to announce…
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The other day I was a little thirsty. Had some work to do so I delayed my short trip to the kitchen as much as I could. After one or two hours, the thirst become really important to me, so I left my home office and went to the kitchen. To my surprise, there was only a small bottle of water left in the house. This is happening extremely rare as I am quite a freak when it comes to water, food and supplies. Well, I took a glass of water, pour the whole bottle in it, then put in on my table and start looking at it.
“If I don’t drink the water, I’ll have this glass full for a long time”, I thought. “It’s the only water I have in the house, so it’s really precious, must take good care of it”. But after a few seconds I realized I’m still thirsty. More and more thirsty.
“If I drink the water, I won’t be thirsty anymore. But I won’t have any water left in the house. I know in several hours I’ll be thirsty again, and then I won’t have this glass full of water. It will be empty. That means I should really go out and start looking for some fresh water. And I really don’t wanna do this right now.”
Learning To Let Go
I’m sure you laughed while reading the monologue above. You have all the reasons, it’s a weird monologue. A guy talking with his glass full of water is always funny, I know. But as thirsty as I was, I realized this monologue was something very common to me. It’s a monologue I play every time I’m afraid to try something new. Every time I’m on a safe environment and I’m enjoying it and try to squeeze everything out of it. I was really enjoying working on my office and the idea of getting out for some fresh water was really unpleasant.
And I realized I have to do it. As unpleasant as it seemed, it was something necessary for me. And I also realized that every environment is perishable. Each situation is finite. Trying to extend a pleasurable situation beyond its natural boundaries it’s not only useless, but most of the time quite impossible. You must accept this sooner or later. You have to drink the water and accept that you’ll have to find fresh water soon. You can’t rely on a single glass of water to quench your thirst for your entire life.
Keeping your game into a single playground will soon dry it out. If you don’t do something to constantly refresh your resources, you’ll empty your field by using it. If you don’t get out in the wild to get some water you’ll run out of it.
The worst thing that can happen to you is to realize that you have unlimited power. That you can do anything. That you can create everything you want. That there is nothing outside you and everything is inside, waiting to blossom. The worst thing is to realize that you’re here to create your own life. Why?
Because you’ll face some terrible questions.
First question: what should I do with my life?
It’s so much easier to live without a purpose, thinking that you have limited powers, that your destiny was engraved in stone and you can’t do anything to change it. Asking questions like “what should I do with my life, now that I DO have the power to change it?” it’s a difficult process. Not everyone is ready to ask that question, and even less are ready to give an honest answer. It’s so much easier to put your entire life on somebody else’s plate.
Put it on your parents, they didn’t love you when you were a kid. Put it on the system, it’s making you a 9 to 5 slave. Put it on your spouse, for being lazy or angry or unconsidered. Put on your kids are they are here to steal your precious time, a time that you would otherwise spend on meaningless tv shows or useless gossip.
It’s easier to put the guilt on somebody else, it will free your consciousness and ease your pain. Why live a life with a purpose when there are so many difficulties? Why do something if somebody (your parents, spouse, kids, boss, this out-of-nowhere man) will prevent you for doing it? Why searching for a higher purpose when you can think you’re just a limited individual with limited power and limited beliefs?
Living a life without purpose, without accessing your enormous power is always a safer bet. Admit it: this concept of unlimited power doesn’t fit with your current lifestyle. So, it must not exist at all.
After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.
Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.
Gratitude Is Acknowledgement
It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.
We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.
But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.